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How to: Take your camcorder skills to the next level

Hollywood may put hundreds of millions of dollars into producing blockbusters, but many of the silver screen's visual effects can easily be done on a modest budget. Read on to find out how to finesse your flicks...

Want to put some Hollywood style into your home movies? Want to make your mark as an amateur filmmaker? Want your family and friends to look more attractive on film? The tricks of the trade, for those who don't have Steven Spielberg's bank account, are revealed in's Become a Camcorder Pro feature, which arrived on the site in all its technicolour glory yesterday.

Remember the suspenseful scenes in The Shining where little Danny peddles around the corridors of the hotel? They were created using a popular Hollywood technique you can replicate in your garden or living room. Learn how to film people in bright sunlight without getting unflattering shadows on actors' faces. Create an atmosphere in your home movies -- giving your films a cold, blue feel, or a warm, bleached-out effect.

To find out all this and more, read the ten-step guide on how to make your footage shine. -Ingrid Marson